Inside the late 1950s, more than a decade following the war rather than a long time after the rock and roll explosion, Britain embarked on the house-building programme the like of which we have never seen before or since.

There seemed to be suddenly a necessity for over a quarter of any million new homes each year as new towns were designed to replace the old slums and families sought extra space to support the child boom. To meet this, large numbers of houses were internal factories after which assembled on location.

These prefabricated house came to be as closely associated with the next several years as Billy Bremner or perhaps the Beatles. In truth, this was actually something of an exaggeration, given that they never comprised over 15% of the latest builds inside an era in which the high rises were a much bigger game changer.

In the early 1970s, prefabs suddenly went away from style, with high rises not far behind. The need for such speedy building had reduced. Insurance firms had begun refusing to insure them because it became clear there were numerous issues with the construction techniques they would not last nearly provided that people had hoped. Suddenly new homes comprised blocks and bricks and were between two and four storeys in height.

Yet whisper it, pre-fabrication is creating a comeback – though these days it will always be referred to as off-site construction. If the momentum keeps increasing, it will almost certainly visit dominate house building across the UK and perhaps elsewhere in a manner that 06dexspky happened in the 1950s and 1960s.

Scotland continues to be leading the way. Partly this can be because of timber frame housing, which is far more extensive north of the border. Timber frames became popular in Aberdeenshire inside the 1980s to meet the nascent oil and gas industry, and then gradually spread with other aspects of Scotland.

From the early 2000s, framing companies began merging with other players such as insulators and gradually took good thing about their new strength comprehensive to go into building kit houses offsite. With the pre-recession peak of 2007, off-site new build had grown from under 10% of most new Scottish houses to between 25% and 30%.

By that year, the total quantity of new houses being built in britain was around 200,000. That fell just to over 110,000 as demand collapsed. After a few lean years it really is around the up again (see image), fuelled by the UK Government’s Assistance to Buy scheme.

But a majority of experts agree it will have to grow considerably more quickly if we will satisfy demand for the future. Great Britain Government estimates that we must build 260,000 houses each and every year in England and Wales between 2015 and 2031 and 35,000 each year in Scotland.

Housing booms past and future. Edinburgh Napier

Not just are these targets way before what we were building even throughout the pre-recession peak, there are several other pressures on construction:

replacing skilled workers who have left the marketplace sector throughout the recession and so are not returning;

high average age in a few lines of labor, meaning increasing retirement rates;

large amounts of refurbishment to existing housing stock;

delays to utility connections on work sites;

planning delays;

pressure on prices and workers from demand using their company sectors including oil and gas and major infrastructure works for rail, road and power stations.

When building fails

Many people think that offsite may be the answer. As outlined by case studies by Build Offsite, the sector body, the savings feature a 10% to 15% decrease in the fee for building; plus a 40% decrease in vehicle movements.

It also helps with builders’ mounting energy performance requirements. House building has become put underneath the microscope in recent years to determine where improvements can be produced – for instance one recent research area has been improving buildings’ external insulated fabric.

Off-site manufacturing assists with this mainly because it gives builders additional control over each stage in the construction process. In addition, it means you are able to reduce waste and possess better control over the types of waste being generated, while implementing techniques loved by other sectors for example just-in-time delivery.

To utilize this potential, steel warehouse for example Kingspan, CCG and Stewart Milne have already been investing heavily in facilities through the recession years.

Inspired from the lean construction types of car makers such as Ford and Toyota, plants emerged or expanded in places like Glasgow, Manchester, Aberdeen, Derby and Motherwell. Off-site now comprises between 15% and 20% of house building in England and Wales, having moved beyond timber frames to various many other materials; during Scotland it really is now 50 plus%.

CCG’s offsite factory near Glasgow. Edinburgh Napier University

With the aid of the likes of the future Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, that can bring together academics and researchers from 11 universities, these manufacturers are developing increasingly advanced assembly techniques that may include smart technology, intelligent membranes and even nanotech. To reflect these technologies and systems some believe the the off-site sector may change its name to Advanced Construction.

The proportion of off-site construction is only going to keep growing. Chances are that by 2017, a lot more than 70% of the latest Scottish homes will likely be built this way, while all of those other UK shows the identical upward momentum. Some of the prefabricated homes can also be attracting interest from China, Europe, Brazil and Russia, where this segment has yet to take off.

Having got off-site construction so wrong at the first try around, this period promises to be very different. Just do the construction industry a favour: don’t think of it prefab.